Monday, 27 May 2013

How's your Irish?

10:30pm and still a lot of light left in the sky
You can never say that my life is boring just lately. On the one hand I have been able to relate to a post on the Ploughs and stars project blog, where the author is pictured lying in the field exhausted, just resting his aching back and gazing up at the sky and on the other hand I needed to rest my aching brain, after translating from Irish English to Latvian English. Our neighbours who own a wood products company were a little nervous at the prospect of a meeting with an Irishman about some business and discussing everything in English. I usually take the phone calls, as it is always pretty difficult to speak another language over the phone with no visual clues as to whether you are being understood or not and usually face to face meetings are easier. No disrespect to the Irish, but they do love a good "crack" (translation talk) and at quite a pace too.  I think it is quite a while since I have had to keep up with talking in English at quite that speed, even though I did have a lovely chat with an Irish lady, a friend of my daughter's, whilst in Australia. I'm not really sure if the meeting was successful or not, our neighbours will have a lot to discuss, but at least the actual meeting went smoothly enough and I think the translation went well.

I haven't really been lying in the fields, but it is tempting. The problem is I am always afraid of the multiple varieties of insect life we have in our grassland to actually just lie down in it and that is from previous experience. Ian has continued to cut down a lot of the grass to try and reduce the problems of the flying biting ones that we have a lot of in the early summer and the hope is that it will make life more pleasant for the alpacas this year. We have already started with the mosquitoes, but fortunately they are more of an evening insect and hot weather or windy weather keeps them at bay and makes for a more pleasant time. Everything is growing at such a pace now and of course the grass is no sooner cut than it looks like it might need doing again. I have got quite a bit more gardening done as well as managing to end up with sunburn on my lower back - note to self, where a longer t-shirt of put suncream on there. I also took advantage of a couple of rainy days to work in the greenhouse, a job that has become almost impossible on the sunnier days, consequently all our tomatoes are now in and most of the melons. We are trying two new varieties of melons this year, to see how they fare - Lada and Vidzeme.

That rather thick custard is an absurdly yellow colour, not
from food colourings but due to the eggs our chickens lay.
We have had bright yellow cakes and intensely yellow
boiled eggs too, all because our chickens get access to grass
We have eaten well this last week, asparagus has been featuring widely in the diet - don't worry not too often, especially with its rather embarrassing consequences. One evening I prepared an asparagus, onion leaves, and pea-top omelette, served on a bed of lettuce that had grown from seeds leftover from feeding chickens with gone to seed lettuces and carrots that had been stored over winter. The only items not grown ourselves was the salt and oil and even the oil was a cold-pressed rapeseed oil from Latvia. Other treats were the scotch pancakes served with dandelion syrup that I made last week. That syrup worked rather well, so well in fact that Ian helped me pick a bucketful of dandelion flowers so that I can make some more of it. It is a long time since I have had any maple syrup, but that is what comes to mind when I taste the dandelion syrup. We have had dried apple slices, as we tried out the solar dryer that Ian made last year and that failed due to the lack of sun, or solars as we keep saying. This year a day in the solar drier and the apple has been just about successfully dried. We have so many eggs that we are having difficulty keeping up, but I'm guessing we will have plenty of help soon as our new chicks are ready for hatching out in about 10 days time and about that time we start with the influx of family visitors. We candled the eggs (shone a really bright light through them to see if there is life) and found that three definitely have not been fertilised and two are suspect, but the rest seem to be developing well. So keep watching this space for lots of cute chick pictures soon.

Our eggs in the incubator
I have had to balance the gardening with my uni work though, as I have a few rather close deadlines for things that need completing. One of them is a study plan, that has taken far too long to sort out, but it is now acceptable and ready for sending off. I also have an academic paper to write for a conference that had to be fitted into two pages and not the normal length of a paper which seems to be around 12 pages. It is my first attempt at writing one of these and there were a few new things to learn along the way, such as having to look up "corresponding" in the dictionary for a new version of the word, as in a person who deals with written communication. I had just never used the word that way. When I told Ian, he looked at me in surprise that I didn't know that. Okay I know you have correspondents who write articles for newspapers but corresponding to me was always used in terms of something matching something else, like someone's views corresponding with someone else's views. I am quite pleased that it didn't take too long to write and didn't require a lot of amendments. That is always helpful. There are times I can completely miss the point and fortunately this wasn't one of them.

The prodigal returned, looking a little dishevelled
I forgot to mention our cat went missing for a couple of days last week, she returned on the night we were shearing Herkules our alpaca. I don't know why she gets wanderlust, but it seems to be a regular thing with her. Last year she disappeared about three times, sometimes up to a week at a time. That was usually after a telling off or after she was given tablets which seem to traumatise her. This year, there didn't seem to be any reason at all, unless she was doing a thorough sweep of our forest for tics - she is an absolute tic magnet. Hopefully though the tic medicine will soon sort her out and keep the wee beasties at bay.

It is often said that "there is nothing new under the sun," in fact it is a saying from the time of Solomon, so it has been around a looooong looooong time. The quote below could have been taken from yesterday's paper, the subject matter is so relevant, although perhaps nowadays it is not just Continental farm-produce but worldwide produce.
The fact, however, that Continental and other farm-produce of all kinds can be sold in our own markets at less than would be its cost of production in this country, while the quality is often superior, goes far to prove that there is something in their knowledge of the subject and that it is not all the result of cheap labour or a better climate. "Stephen's Book of the Farm"(1888)
Ian has been reading this book in his downtimes in the caravan and finding it fascinating. The book was used in the programme Victorian Farm as a reference book for most of their activities. It helps to know what some of the more primitive implements were used in the smaller scale farms and how some things were harvested or stored in a less technological age. Sometimes it is good to revisit the past and see if there is anything that has been forgotten about that might actually be relevant for today, it is also good to find out the things that are best forgotten about for good. Not all old practices were bad and not all old practices were good.

Still waiting to go out in the garden, more squash plants.
Let's hope they fare better than one lot, which is being
inundated with snails.
Well I have nearly finished waffling on, but just want to finish off by one of the low points of this week. Having flown all the way to Australia, we had been hoping for a nice lot of points put on our Eurobonus airmiles card, but no! Between Scandinavian airlines, Singapore airlines and Star Alliance the partnership they operate under we find we are not going to get the points. When you book you are allocated a booking class and for some reason the ones we were booked onto, was for booking class Y that does not accrue any points. The problem I have with it, is no one books to get a particular class of ticket, you just book the cheapest on the day, whatever that might be. It seems therefore an utter lottery as to whether the flights are due to get points or not. It doesn't exactly make me feel inclined to be loyal to either airline either now. I think I will be looking at other loyalty cards then, as I will be doing a lot of travelling over the next four years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi